Fern Mallis, founder and lead orchestrator of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, is leaving the event’s production company, IMG, to launch her own consulting firm.
This is a big deal. Mallis is directly responsible for the establishment of New York Fashion Week in 1993 as we know it today. At that time, she was the executive director of the CFDA, and naysayers in the fashion world didn’t consider New York’s trade show a significant stop on their busy schedules.
Today, New York is probably the most important week–at least in terms of press and attention in gets from buyers–after Paris. Through IMG, she’s also established prominent fashion weeks in Mumbai and Berlin.
Does Mallis’ departure spell trouble for IMG, which is moving its “Tents” from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center this fall? Probably not, at least in the short term. Here’s why:
- It’s unlikely Mallis’ friendly face will be absent from the front row anytime soon: Her first client is IMG. Along with her former employer, Mallis plans to offer designers, labels and other event companies ways to better brand and market themselves.
- While Mallis isn’t being replaced, her duties are being spread out amongst several executives. While it’s unfortunate IMG will no longer have such a prominent spokesperson, Mallis’ vision is likely to remain in tact.
There’s no denying that, despite the its full schedule, Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week has lost a bit of its appeal over the last few seasons, particularly with the launch of Mac & Milk, a set of shows taking place at the meatpacking district’s Milk Studios and featuring hip designers like Preen, Jen Kao and Band of Outsiders. (Read more on the state of New York Fashion Week here.)
The good news: Mallis–who, despite her executive role, has always been an honest, eager subject for appreciative journalists–isn’t likely to let IMG’s event whittle away. Even if she’s not running the show, she’ll never fully leave the stage. We wish her the best of luck!